- Getting started with Stackfield is particularly easy due to the intuitive interface
- Project work with external parties and other offices is possible without any problems
- Unforeseen staff absences do not cause delays and deadlines can be met as planned
- Stackfield convinces with outstanding customer support and exciting updates
The city of Nuremberg as a pioneer in digitalization
As an independent city with a population of around 540,000, Nuremberg is the second largest city in Bavaria after Munich. Known throughout the country for its Christkindlesmarkt, among other things, Nuremberg now wants to draw attention to itself in other ways as well, namely in terms of digitalization. As a project management specialist, Oliver Krämer works in the Office for Digitalization and Process Organization (DiP) of the City of Nuremberg. He tells us how many processes in his office now run digitally and why Stackfield plays such an important role here.
Oliver Krämer - Office for Digitalization and Process Organization of the City of Nuremberg
The initial situation
In 2020, Nuremberg's Office for Digitalization and Process Organization was one of the many public administrations to experience a major shock: The corona crisis hit the office hard and unprepared. "Before the pandemic, almost all of us worked on-site in the office. Teleworking spaces, i.e., people working from home, were very limited at the time. Then the crisis hit and many people had to suddenly work from home", says Oliver Krämer.
Mobile collaboration tools were limited at the time and the office was looking for appropriate software solutions. Above all, a tool was needed that would support cooperation in virtual teams and project work. Upon an internal recommendation from the Office for Communication and City Marketing, the department DiP ultimately came to Stackfield. In combination with a large pool of functions, Stackfield was able to convince with a simple user interface and its high standards of data protection.
"We don't have the resources to train thousands of people in-house, which is why the tool had to be intuitive and easy to learn. And of course: the issue of data protection."
When asked what advice he would give to other municipalities, Krämer quickly has an answer: "I would test a tool first. When testing, you easily notice which functions you like, which ones you need and which ones you don't and what you might be missing from the tool. From these findings, you can determine your own need and draw up a service specification on your own requirements, which is then needed for a large-scale invitation to tender. Furthermore, it is important to work hand in hand with the interest groups."
Diving into the world of Stackfield step by step
The first steps after the implementation of a new tool are often quite shaky, but Krämer was confident: He relied entirely on the method of "Learning-by-Doing", which means sitting down at your desk without much of a plan and just trying things out.
"With the Kanban method you just start with what you're doing at the moment. That is one of the guiding principles. For example, just start with self-management, that is, with your own to-do list."
Krämer's strategy was a complete success. A team of "lead users", targeted intensive users of Stackfield, then introduced the product in the office with a short briefing. Afterwards, each employee was given the opportunity to engage with Stackfield at their own pace, including less tech-savvy users. "We gave people free rein for the time being: Just have a look at it." A conclusion followed quickly: Stackfield makes it easy for users to join in and Krämer receives positive feedback, just as he imagined.
Now Stackfield is firmly integrated into Krämer's daily routine. His previously used Excel lists have ended up in the digital trash. In the morning, he immediately opens Stackfield and looks up the tasks for the day in My Week.
"You just have to keep at it and then everything will work out over time. I'm very happy with how things are going now."
In terms of digitalization, a lot has changed with the introduction of Stackfield. Accessing documents on business trips or from the home office is no longer a problem. Even employees who previously could not imagine working from home are now more open to the idea. "The corona crisis has triggered a lot. It was an external shock reminding us that digitalization can be very beneficial and can make an administration like ours or a large organization more resilient. This is what makes us less vulnerable to external shocks like these."
Controlling project work via Stackfield: roll-out and external work
With the project work, DiP hoped to roll out Stackfield on a case-by-case basis and gain efficiencies. Every time there was a new project, designated project rooms were created and all people involved were added as users. External people, such as consultants, could be included by assigning them the role of Guest without them gaining access to the entire organization. Especially in terms of data protection, this feature was very important. "There are many global rooms, in which external people have no place, of course. Therefore, we are really grateful for the guest role, which allows external participants to enter the respective project rooms."
With the help of Stackfield, Nuremberg was able to better handle current projects, such as the implementation of the online access law or the further development of the platform for citizens' services called "Mein Nürnberg" ("My Nuremberg"). Suddenly, agile working was no longer a buzzword from organizational theory but proved itself in practice. In weekly meetings, the team sat down and looked at all the progress in the respective project using the Kanban board. The status of the individual tasks was apparent at any time – from colleagues and externals.
"In the past, everything was managed via on-site meetings or by telephone. With Stackfield, this can now also be done digitally, which of course also saves costs. External people no longer have to settle travel expenses or anything in this regard with us as they can work from their company or from home, which makes a lot of things easier."
By managing projects through Stackfield, Krämer can also bring other departments on board automatically. Interdepartmental projects bring together people from many different departments, including users who have no previous experience with Stackfield. Through project work, they also have the opportunity to "just get started".
"People from other departments are involved in our projects, learn about the tool and in many cases, they can even imagine working with it in their own department as well."
Offices that would like to use Stackfield for themselves can retrieve licenses through a special shop system of the city of Nuremberg. It does not matter if it is just one team or an entire office. There is nothing more to consider for interested employees in terms of legal, security or contractual aspects – the new users can concentrate fully on the tool. This way, Stackfield is gradually spreading throughout the city government.
Remarkable increase in efficiency with the help of the Kanban functionality
For Krämer, there is no question that Stackfield increases the efficiency of the departments. He is particularly fond of the Kanban board. His favorite function: recurring tasks. Krämer often has to prepare for and follow up on meetings. These are processes that always follow a pattern and can therefore benefit from this function. Once a task has been checked off, a new one appears immediately, saving Krämer a lot of work.
"The Kanban board bundles everything in one place and allows you to always stay on top of things. You can see which tasks are in progress, what the current status is, who is involved and who you can turn to in case you have a question. In the past, you always had to call several people and ask for the information you needed. Now you have everything in one place and there is no need to bother others. If implemented properly, you will have great efficiency gains as an organization."
Absences due to illness and vacation are no longer causing delays
Another advantage of using Stackfield: Absences due to illness or vacation are easier to manage. In case of an urgent deadline, a cover person is notified, who can easily access the respective Kanban board and view the task. With just a few clicks, the cover person can see the status, has access to all relevant materials via a link and can proceed with the task without delay.
"Before this wave of digitalization and before Stackfield, this was really difficult. The workspace of individual colleagues was almost like a black box for others. Especially, when a lot of the work was still done in hard copy, you first had to search through your colleague's filing cabinet and that naturally took a lot of time. This is much easier now with Stackfield."
When he returns to the office after a vacation, Krämer also likes to use the feature "Latest Activity" in the task module. This way, he can easily track what has happened in his absence and is up to date in no time.
What sets Stackfield apart from the competition?
First and foremost, for Krämer, this is clearly the outstanding customer support. The fact that the support can be reached directly via Stackfield's integrated live chat is ideal for the department.
"At this point, it must be said that the customer support's response time is really phenomenal. I would sometimes ask a question and get my answer within a minute. Surely, there are other providers who could learn a thing or two from Stackfield in this regard."
What Krämer is also particularly pleased about is that he feels that constructive feedback is taken seriously and listened to. "The tool is constantly evolving. You don't get the feeling that there is a state that the producer is now happy with and that nothing will change in the next five years. In fact, there are really useful improvements every few weeks or months and you always have the feeling that your own suggestions for improvement get through and are taken seriously."